Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It seems everyone on Facebook has been posting different things they are thankful for every day. I don't do that because we are all usually thankful for our fabulous children, wonderful husbands, blah, blah, blah.

I am going to go ahead and post a few things I am thankful for here

1.  Heat in my home. I hate being cold so having heat and blankets is great

2.  That both my husband and I are working this Christmas, times are tough for jobs here

3.  Co-workers that go out of their way to help you

4.  Relaxing days off

5. Family, friends

6.  Food

7.  Chocolate

8.  "Thankful" Facebook postings will now be OVER!!

Hope you have a great time, eat way too much, and enjoy your day!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reading Fair Project

Eve's school had a reading fair this week. I went to her classroom on Tuesday to see all of the awesome projects. These kids are creative. I do hate that you can tell the difference between the projects that parents helped with and the ones without helpful parents.

The project consisted of the following:
Read a teacher approved book
Take an accelerated reader quiz on the book
Make a poster that follows several criteria 
Answer questions to judges about project
Have project judged
Have parents visit and see the projects

This project started at the beginning of October and we are finally finished. She has worked hard on her project but she is happy that it is finally over. She won an award in her class for most creative and appealing display. She was so proud of herself!

The book she chose to read was Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has read another book in this series and was excited to read more about the Ingalls family. The only downside to this book is that it is hard to be creative with it. You can't choose flashy colors or fancy fonts because that is not something that would be associated with the 1860's. So, we thought a button necklace and a wagon would be era appropriate.

First, to make the button necklace Eve used fishing wire and buttons from grandma. My mom is a sewer and has a huge container of buttons. She sat and stringed them on while I straightened the letters on her poster.

As for the letters, we thought we could do fun prints that people from that time frame might use for dresses, home decor, or quilts. We went to Hobby Lobby and got lucky that the scrapbook paper was 50% off. I bought the 8 1/2 x 11 size. I think we bought 6 different sheets. My original plan was to print the letters on the back of the papers as a mirror image and then cut them out but my printer and the program I was using wouldn't do mirror image. After some thought we decided to use a cutter that we have at work in the teachers lounge. The letters are a nice plain font and 4" in size. Luckily I bought a pad of 6x6 scrapbook paper too because we ran out quickly with those size letters. We even cut out enough letters to do "Laura Ingalls Wilder" but it wouldn't fit on our poster board.

The wagon was built from the following: wooden coffee stir sticks, copper wire, wagon wheels, and burlap ribbon. The wagon wheels came from the doll house section of Hobby Lobby. Dad built the wagon with the hot glue gun and I added the burlap ribbon. Eve printed out the cover of the book and then cut out Laura and Mary to glue on the wagon. We then glued the wagon to the board.

Our inspiration
Because I bought a black board (it was on clearance at Meijer) we chose to write the titles of our sections (plot, mood, etc.) in white crayon, hoping it would look like chalk. I didn't want to use regular chalk because it would smear. I think it turned out pretty close to a chalk look. 

Typed parts that described her book were printed on white paper and then glued to different 6x6 scrapbook papers (which we also bought at Hobby Lobby). They were already cut so we didn't have to do anything to them, just glue them down and add the white typed paper.

Since the authors name wouldn't fit on the board, Eve wanted to follow the same theme as above. She typed the authors name and then printed it. We cut some scrapbook paper smaller and glued the white pages to it.

Overall her project looks basic and simple but that is what we thought of when we thought about Little House. Not much flashy stuff happened then :)

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Doctor Who?

Saturday was Doctor Who day at our house. The 50th anniversary episode aired so we built our afternoon around the show. The episode was broadcast worldwide at the same time with no commercials, how awesome is that?

To start off, Friday was spent realizing that the episode was going to be on at 8pm on BBC America like it usually is but at 2:50 eastern time in the afternoon. This altered things a little for us because we were having another family over to watch with us but they couldn't come in the afternoon because they would be Christmas shopping. This left the 4 of us to celebrate together. I had everything to make the snacks so I went ahead and made them they just weren't as fancy as they could have been. 

I started with a nice lunch of "fish and chips." We don't do much fish at our house so I bought Tyson breaded chicken nuggets. Since the British call fries "chips," all I had to do was buy some frozen fries and I was done. It just happened that I took the pic of the Tardis blue plate, what a nice surprise!

I searched Pinterest for some snack ideas and found this blog with some fabulous ideas. Mine are like the ghetto versions but I don't care, they tasted the same. 

Up first were the screwdrivers. I bought the pretzel rods and candy pieces at Meijer. I melted the candy per their instructions and poured it over the pretzel rods. I sprinkled our blue and green sprinkles on them immediately. I then separated the melted candy into 2 different bowls and added blue food coloring to one bowl and green to the other. I dipped the ends into the colors to represent the blue or green lights of 2 different Doctors (10 and 11) screwdrivers.

The next thing I made were the Adipose. These are cute little things on the episode but unfortunately represent fat. What other way to represent fat then with marshmallows? The original blog used mini's for the arms and legs but since it was just us, I didn't add those. I let Eve do the smiley faces with black gel icing.

Aren't they cute?
Lastly, we made "fish sticks and custard" a favorite of Doctor 11. Well, as mentioned above we don't do fish sticks so that was out and we are not a fan of custard so cancel that too. The snacks on the blog said to use vanilla pudding and basically snickerdoodle cookies. I didn't get fancy again, just bought vanilla pudding cups and some break and bake snickerdoodles. My plan was to cut these to look like stix (fish stix) but they got out of the oven at 2:40 and the show was starting in 10 minutes :(

Overall, we thought the episode was great. It opened up a lot of questions that I hope can be answered over the next couple seasons. The next episode will be the Christmas day episode. Christmas is usually busy for us but we will make time for it. Maybe we can do some more Doctor snacks then, too. 
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Social

Linking up today for the Sunday Social

4 Jobs you have had in your life:
1. Fast food (Hardee's)
2. Library assistant (Biology Library IU Bloomington)
3.  Medical Transcriptionist
4.  Teachers aide

4 movies you could watch over and over:

4 places I have lived:
1.  Muncie, IN
2.  Jonesboro, IN
3.  Bloomington, IN
4.  Gas City, IN

4 of my favorite foods:
1.  Chocolate
2. Chicken
3.  Chocolate
4.  Salad

4 things I always carry with me:
1.  Cell Phone
2.  Nook
3.  Blistex
4.  Gum

4 places I have been on vacation:
1. Walt Disney World :)
2.  Bahamas 
3.  Las Vegas
4.  Washington, DC

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy (late) Halloween!!

My schedule was a little wacky last week and I didn't get to wish everyone "Happy Halloween." Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I think it is fun picking out a costume and getting all dressed up. I haven't dressed up for halloween for several years but I love helping my kids either pick out costumes or making their costumes.

I wanted to make Eve a weeping angel costume from Doctor Who this year but she wanted me to buy a costume. I gave in because it really is about the kids being happy. We ended up at 5 different stores in one day but she found one that she was really excited for. Originally she wanted to be the bleeding Scream so when we start looking and she sees things like a girl sailor and Alice in Wonderland, I knew I needed to purchase something quick while she wanted to be something girly. I don't have many of these years left, I have to treasure each and every one!!

At the last store, the store that had NOTHING on sale, she found the Mad Hatter. It was cute with bright colors so we decided to get it. It was so far away from what she would usually pick out but we loved it. 

Even though it was chilly in Indiana on November 1st (trick or treating was moved due to threat of severe storms) in Indiana, she decided to wear flip flops with it. We sprayed her hair with pink and green spray and I put it in a funky bun on the side. I then pinned the hat on but it had trouble staying on. She let me put on some silvery eye shadow, fill in her eyebrows, added pink blush to her cheeks, and hot pink lipstick. What do you think?

By the Way: This is what I got when I  trick or treated at my friends house:

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Holy MagicBands, Batman!!

First, I want to start off and thank the readers that I still have. I haven't been blogging very much and have lost a few followers but I still have you!!

Now, for a life update. As I droned on and on about for awhile, I spent some time recently at Walt Disney World. This trip included a test of the new MagicBands. My trip was SO much better with those little things. I don't think I want to go back without them ever again!

First, I have mentioned before that you can set them up, choose colors, and have them shipped to you before you even leave home. The first time you get to try them out is to get onto the Magical Express, so make sure you pack them on your carry on bags. Starting the Magic early, is always a nice bonus. Then, when you arrive at Check-in, they explain everything to you if you need instructions. If you don't need instructions, they make sure everything is activated and ask you if you remember your PIN. This is where I needed help. I told you before my vacation that I set up my PIN but forgot what it was. When the Cast Member asked me if I remember it, I told her that I did not. She offered to change it for me. You can choose anything that works for you. I chose "2013." I figuered it was easy for all of us to remember (Eve is only 10). 

After we made our way to our room, we saw that the room card scanners have been removed and replaced with the RFID Mickey readers. These will scan your MagicBand or your Key to the World card. I read on the internet somewhere that it is best to wear your band with Mickey facing away from you so that ears and face touch, not ears to face, if you understand. It's kind of like wearing your watch with the 6 on the top and the 12 on the bottom. We experimented with both ways and found that it does work best to wear Mickey facing out.  We never experienced any problems getting into our room with the bands or the cards. 

The MagicBands are also for your Disney Dining Plan, if you have it. Whenever you get your meal (quick-service, table-service, or snack) they scan your MagicBand, then you enter your PIN. This is why I made the PIN something that everyone would remember. Eve loves "paying" for her meals all by herself. The table service cast members have hand held scanners to scan your band for you. Most restaurants scanned my band when I sat down, to make sure I had dining credits I guess. This is the only time we had the least bit of trouble. I, stupidly) chose to allow charging with my MagicBands and credit card. I just told the waitress that we would be paying cash for the tip (the gift cards that I previously mentioned). One restaurant I left a $30 tip for our $150 meal, when I checked out I found out that I had a $17 charge on my credit card for that restaurant, which means that she got a $47 tip!! Next time I will not allow charging on my bands. I had never allowed charging on my Key to the World cards, so I was unaware that they attempt to go ahead and charge the tip. Oh well, you live and you learn.

They are also for park tickets. We found that the scanners to enter the parks were quite easy to access. They had them on both sides so whether you have your band on your right or left hand, it will not be awkward for you to scan. I thought it made entrance faster.

Photopass can also be used with the MagicBands. We don't often utilize the Photopass plus photographers but we had a few pics this time and all they did was take our pic and scan our band. It sure saved from having several cards floating around in my bag and/or having to fish one out if you decide to get your picture taken.

Finally, you can use the Bands for Fastpass +. We had these set up before we arrived and it made access to the rides easy. We did see that you had to scan twice to get onto the rides. We scanned the first time at the Fastpass entrance and then again right before you get onto the ride. Some rides were so busy (Safari) that only one person in our party needed to scan our Bands. I saw several computer terminals all over the parks and cast members with iPads walking around to help with Fastpass+. We did not need their help but I did see them everywhere. 

You can use your MagicBand for charging but I did not charge anything, so I cannot give my experience with that. 

My mom lost her band temporarily (in the cupholder of the rental car) and we accessed the app to see if we could deactivate it. Surprise, you can. It even let me reactivate it when we found it the next day. The only downside to this entire process is the speed of the MyDisneyExperience app. It is glacial!! I have heard that it is like that even on AT&T, and they are the official wireless service of Walt Disney World. 

I did see accessories for the MagicBands for sale at most of the stores around the World. We chose not to purchase them. I did consider the covers because they were super cute but I just couldn't justify the cost. 

WARNING: I have just read online that Disney has changed the Fastpass+ selections. I guess you can now only choose 1 headliner (Soarin', Test Track, etc.) for each park and then 2 other selections. This is different then from when we went. I was able to set up Fastpass+ at Epcot for 10am at Soarin', 11am at Test Track, and 8:30pm for Illuminations. I could see where this could be problematic at some of the parks where the "other selections" aren't somethings we would like (shows, characters, and parades).

We certainly loved these things. Even my mother loved them and she has little to no technology experience. The ease of use far outweighed the kinks that Disney is working out. I tried to list everything that I could remember about our experience but if you have any questions please let me know.

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